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Atul Patankar

CIC to take up issue of making public assets of ministers & kin

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Atul Patankar

As reported at timesofindia.indiatimes.com on 13 March 2009


NEW DELHI: Should the assets of ministers and their kin be available for public scrutiny? The Central Information Commission (CIC) will take up the issue for consideration on Friday.


The controversial matter comes at a time when the Delhi High Court has overturned the CIC order for assets of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts to be made public.


Applicant Subhash Chandra Agarwal had demanded information related to the assets owned by Union ministers and their kin in the past two years.


Incidentally, the Prime Minister's Office had initially forwarded the application to the cabinet secretariat asking for information to be disclosed. In his appeal, Agarwal pointed out that in a letter on May 19, 2008, the PMO had provided details of assets and liabilities of Union ministers to cabinet secretariat to deal with such RTI applications. However, Agarwal was later informed by the PMO that the information sought was exempt under section 8 of the RTI Act.


After six months, PMO in a letter dated December 17, 2008, told Agarwal that the information sought could not be provided as it was exempt under the RTI Act. The PMO sought exemption under clauses 8(1)(e) and 8(1)(j) which relate to immunity granted to "documents fiduciary relationship" and "Cabinet documents" under the RTI Act.


Source: CIC to take up issue of making public assets of ministers & kin-India-The Times of India

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As reported in indopia.in on 13 March 2009:

523192 : National : CIC reserves order on assets plea after PMO submits reply


CIC reserves order on assets plea after PMO submits reply


New Delhi, Mar 13 After its about turn on disclosing assets of Ministers, the PMO today submitted before Central Information Commission that its initial letter to Cabinet Secretariat asking to furnish the information was only in line with the practice being followed in connection with such RTI applications.


The matter relates to RTI application filed by Subhash Chandra Agrawal seeking details of assets of Union Ministers and their relatives from Cabinet Secretariat.


Cabinet Secretariat forwarded the letter to PMO asking for necessary action on the application. The PMO in its reply dated May 19, 2008 asked it to"furnish the information."


" This was in line with the practice being followed in respect of all right to applications being received on the subject, as advised by the Office,"said the PMO.


But after six months, PMO in a letter dated December 17, 2008 told Agrawal the information sought could not be provided as it was exempted under the RTI Act provisions.


" With regard to&aposchange of stance', it is submitted that the office was requested for inputs and only on being advised that the matter related to Cabinet Secretariat and should be transferred to it, did the CPIO transfer it to Cabinet Secretariat,"it submitted to the CIC which reserved its decision today.

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I am at a loss to understand why the judges and ministers are against the transparency and why they scummble to pressure when forced to act. Every person is required to show his/her assets and liablilities (as per law) at the time of filing nominations for election, what problem now they face if it is not required by law (they find technical reasons to refuse until decided by authorities). I believe, like charity, the healing process should also begin at home. All of them should declare their assets and liablities voluntarily (and prove honesty) without being asked under law. Then they will be in a position to control masses against corrupt practices which is most important to protect transparency and save RTI movement, they boast about.


Best regards,

S.P. Manchanda

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